The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

December 12, 2012

Most Googled in 2012: Whitney, PSY, Sandy

(Continued)

Some trending people, according to Google, were:

— Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver who became the first to break the sound barrier without a vehicle with a 24-mile plummet from Earth's stratosphere;

— Jeremy Lin, the undrafted NBA star who exploded off the New York Knicks bench and sparked a wave of "Linsanity";

— Morgan Freeman, the actor whose untimely death turned out not to be true.

The Internet also continued its rise as a popular tool for spreading addictive ideas and phrases known as "memes." Remember LOL? If you don't know what it means by now, someone may "Laugh Out Loud" at you.

This year, Facebook said its top memes included "TBH (To Be Honest)," ''YOLO (You Only Live Once)," ''SMH (Shake My Head)." Thanks to an endlessly fascinating U.S. presidential campaign, "Big Bird" made the list after Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he might consider cutting some funds for public broadcasting.

Yahoo said its own top-searched memes for the year included "Kony 2012," a reference to the short film and campaign against Ugandan militia leader Joseph Kony; "stingray photobomb" for an unusual vacation snapshot that went viral; and "binders full of women," another nod to Romney for his awkward description of his search for women cabinet members as Massachusetts' governor.

And people were happy to pass on popular Twitter posts by retweeting them. According to Twitter, the year's most popular retweets were President Barack Obama's "Four more years," and Justin Bieber's farewell to six-year-old fan Avalanna Routh, who died of a rare form of brain cancer: "RIP Avalanna. i love you".

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